Above: The first RCAF CC-295 for the FWSAR programme, wearing temporary test registration EC-005, during its maiden flight on July 4 from Seville-San Pablo Airport, Spain. Airbus Defence and Space
AIRBUS DEFENCE and Space has flown the first C295 purchased by the Government of Canada for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement (FWSAR) programme. The aircraft, carrying taped-on test registration EC-005, made its maiden flight on July 4, taking off at 2020hrs local time from Seville-San Pablo Airport, Spain. After 1hr 27mins in the air, the aircraft landed back at Seville. The aircraft is scheduled to be delivered before the end of 2019 to begin operational testing by the RCAF.
Canada ordered 16 C295s, which will be designated CC-295 in RCAF service, under a contract signed on December 1, 2016. The order includes all In-Service Support elements including, training and engineering services, the construction of a new Training Centre in Comox, British Columbia, plus maintenance and support services. The aircraft will be based at the same locations as current search and rescue squadrons: Comox, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; Trenton, Ontario; and Greenwood, Nova Scotia.
Another five aircraft are in various stages of assembly for the FWSAR programme, while seven simulator and training devices are in various testing stages. In addition, the first RCAF crews will begin training in late summer 2019 at Airbus’ International Training Centre in Seville, Spain. The first operational unit will be 19 Wing at Comox, which will receive its first aircraft in 2020. The final aircraft delivery is scheduled for 2022. The type is replacing the current RCAF fixed-wing SAR aircraft, the ageing CC-115 Buffalo and CC-130 Hercules.